Cincinnati has quickly transitioned from a toasty fall to a snowy winter, so we can’t blame you if you’re already craving a beach getaway. Fort Myers is perfect for the relaxed traveler, with a charming downtown that offers a variety of restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Of course, you can’t go wrong with soaking up sun on the sandy beaches, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico’s turquoise waters, and indulging in seafood, but even more fun awaits offshore.
Where to Stay
The beachside Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina is both family-friendly and luxurious. Wade in either of the hotel’s two pools, lounge under an umbrella on the sand, or try your hand at the resort-organized water sports, kayaking tours, and beach yoga classes. You can stay onsite for dinner at Bongo’s Beach Bar & Grill and Rae’s on the Beach, or take a short trip down the beach to try local favorites like Nervous Nellie’s, Matanzas on the Bay, and Smokin Oyster Brewery.
What to Do
Take the scenic drive down the historic McGregor Boulevard to see why Fort Myers is nicknamed the “City of Palms,” and hit up the River District for your dining and nightlife kicks. After you’ve explored downtown, island hopping is a must. You can book day trips through EcoVenture Florida and boat through the North Captiva, Cayo Costa, Pineland, Sanibel, and Cabbage Key islands. You’re sure to see wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and sting rays. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a cold beverage, and a bag for shelling.
Where to Eat
Eat a cheeseburger in paradise! Cabbage Key island is famously said to be the place where Jimmy Buffett ate the cheeseburger that inspired his hit song, “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” The Cabbage Key Restaurant and Bar is known for their tasty burgers, sweet cocktails, and dollar bill–lined walls. You can even ask your server for a marker and tape to add a personalized dollar bill to the collection.
If you’re hankering for an inland burger, try Ford’s Garage. With a sizeable menu and craft beer list, the automotive-themed restaurant is right down the street from Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s famed winter estates. The charm is in the details at Ford’s Garage—make sure to pay close attention to the napkin holders, burger names, and bathroom sinks. We suggest ordering Grouper, the tastiest local fish. And, when ordering appetizers, ask for extra boom boom sauce.
Where to Drink
Fort Myers is home to 13 breweries, so if trying local craft beer is on your list, you’re in luck. Point Ybel Brewing Company is an intimate spot that hosts live music and an adventurous rotating menu. Specializing in sour beers, this brewery also serves a variety of ales and lagers, like the Sanibel Red Island Ale, Captiva Cream Ale, and the Pumpkin Spiced Lager.
So what are you waiting for? Ditch the cold for a cabana, and enjoy a long weekend in Fort Myers, Florida.